Sylvia Russell

Superintendent of Schools | Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District
British Columbia Hub | CANADA


Sylvia Russell is honoured to be the Superintendent of Schools for School District No. 42 in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows in British Columbia, Canada.  She has been in this role for almost six years.  

Over the course of her tenure in this role, she and her team have developed a strong strategic plan for the school district that involves four educational pillars: social and emotional learning, learning and assessment, secondary school innovation and literacy.  Social and emotional learning is central to the mission, vision and values of the school district, and they have been actively working with Dr. Kimberley Schonert-Reichl from the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) at the University of British Columbia to develop a district framework for social and emotional learning. They have involved students, parents and instructional staff (education assistants, aboriginal education staff, youth workers, teachers and school administrators), as well teacher and support staff union leaders in the work to develop the district framework for social and emotional learning.  Their elected Board of Education has actively supported this work and has dedicated significant funding for the implementation of the district social emotional learning framework.

Her school district was recently selected by the province of British Columbia to pilot the development of integrated teams to support students in need of mental health and substance use services. They believe that these significant, new resources will help them arrive at a place where they can improve the wellness of their school district community: students, teachers, support staff, administration and parents/guardians/caregivers.  They believe that the added resources that are part of this provincial pilot project will make a great difference, and they believe that they are at a point of readiness to undertake this work because of their social emotional learning focus. 

Some district leaders have already taken part in the Compassionate Systems training. This certificate program is an ideal opportunity to take an in-depth look at Compassionate Systems – a natural match to the mission, vision and values of the school district and their work with regard to implementing a district framework for social and emotional learning.